Apr 23, 2009

The Junior High Countdown: 116. 1993 Select Rookie/Traded

Select was a first year semi-premium set released by the Score/Pinnacle company in 1993. It was fairly popular and showcased a soon-to-be ubiquitous dufex technology. So what better way to capitalize on success than to extend it to an updated edition touting rookies! and traded players, a tried and true practice since 1981 Topps Traded made its auspicious debut. Alas, the execution of the set leaves it here, near the bottom of the countdown.

Design: The front had blue foil along the two side borders with the name and Select logo in gold foil. The back featured a second photo of the player, a Select stat, and 1992's stats. The most appealing part for me is the mention of the transaction date in the copy in which the players changed teams.

Details: It was released in the autumn of 1993 with a grand fanfare. Limited production run! New uniforms! Rookies galore! All were true....

It was distributed in 24 pack boxes of 12 cards apiece, differentiating itself from its traded set brethren from that year. It is 150 card set, of which half are rookies. Inserts were the 10 card All-Star rookies (inserted 1 per 58 packs) and special inserts of Nolan Ryan, Mike Piazza, and Tim Salmon (total: 3-4 per case).

The most notable rookies are Sterling Hitchcock?!? Granted, 1993-1994 card sets did not have the strongest rookie class, but at least include the draft picks from the 1993 draft since it was such a late-season release. My favorite veteran cards that I own are Andres Galarraga as a Rockie, Charlie Hough as a Marlin, and Fred McGriff as a Brave.

There was only a 1950 case run, meaning ultimate scarcity! Get your hands on them quickly before they're gone! Pack prices during release were $7.50 per pack...without any rookies driving the product....just controlled scarcity.

Impact: Case numbers would continue to be released by Score/Pinnacle and other companies to give the illusion of scarcity. This would also be the only Select R/T set released.

Summary: The bottom line is the bottom line. What am I getting for $7.50 per pack? Blue, chipping cards with a questionable checklist and very few impact players. This was also the height of the insert boom, and it didn't even have the cursory inserts per box to whet the appetite. The odds of receiving a card of intrinsic value were slim to none. This is Select...it had been established very few months earlier as the progenitor of Dufex. I want to see inserts and Dufex at least once per box.

Also, packed out traded products as a stand-alone set don't really work for me unless it's showing new players compared to other sets' checklists. Give me the boxed set, let me figure out the names of which rookies to follow, and let it lie. 1991 Topps Traded was too abundantly packed out whereas this set was so scarce it artificially inflated the price to a point where it was uncollectable. As the scan above shows, so much potential...so little fulfillment. And this is why it ranks so low...good design, good concept, fatally poor execution.

No comments: